Mark 4:38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
I’ve only once had an anxiety attack in my life and I hope that I never ever go through it again. It happened years ago when my family and I moved into our new home in Knoxville. I suddenly realized that we had just taken on a thirty year mortgage for a house, in a strange city and foreign land, with absolutely no guarantees about the future.
I also felt bad for my wife and two daughters who had given up everything to come to America with me. They no longer had their own family or friends, their cousins or their comrades to support them. They needed me to be there for them, but I was so engrossed in my work that I failed them. Instead of having faith and being reassured, we were all afraid and resentful. This went on for a few weeks and then I had my panic attack.
I couldn’t breathe one day and my heart raced ahead of itself. My mind was a whirl and I honestly thought I was dying. It lasted about a minute but it felt a lot longer. By the time it was over, I was as white as a sheet and drenched in cold perspiration. It was a horrible experience and I would not wish it upon anybody.
Looking back, I can see that my main problem was a lack of faith in Jesus. I was relying upon my own strength, instead of seeking His support. He had brought all of us to the other side of the Atlantic for a whole host of reasons that are still being fulfilled today in all four of our lives. The storms that I experienced were self-created. Christ was in the heart of them, ready, willing, and able to still the storms and calm the waves. It took me a while to see it, but I now understand: Christ’s presence is real and all that truly matters is that He is here.
Perhaps, like the disciples of old, you are going through a stormy patch and troubled waters. Maybe life is hard and your problems are overwhelming your spirit. Know this: Christ is with you in the midst of all your anxieties and all of your cares. He can, and He will, still those storms.
Question for personal reflection
What fears and issues am I currently facing? How have I asked Jesus to help me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your powerful presence is what our lives constantly need. We are human and frail, fearful and anxious at times. When we are weak, we need You to be our strength. When we fall, we need You to lift us up. Lord Jesus, guide our lives and calm our storms. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to email@example.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called “Stars over Ireland” and it features the Liffey Bridge in Dublin at night time. If you would like to view a larger version of the drawing, please click on the following link: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7194/6844586504_7af66c66e8_b.jpg